Dimitri Eipides, Longtime Toronto Film Fest Programmer, Dies at 82

Dimitri Eipides
"He was our purest flame and his legacy will never be forgotten."

Between 1988 and 2018, Eipides introduced Toronto cinephiles to Bela Tarr, Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne and Michael Haneke, among other filmmakers.

Longtime Toronto Film Festival programmer Dimitri Eipides has died. He was 82.

Eipides, who programmed for Toronto for four decades to 2018, passed away in his hometown of Athens after a long illness, TIFF said on Wednesday. As an international programmer for Toronto, Eipides picked film titles from Eastern and Central Europe, Western and Central Asia and Greece.

"Dimitri was a pure, gentle soul and one of the most committed programmers and cinephiles I have ever known," Piers Handling, former CEO and executive director of TIFF, said in a statement.

"He knew the cinemas of Eastern Europe, but also Asia and Europe — he travelled extensively — and, despite his apparent shyness, was incredibly well-connected. It was through him that I met Béla Tarr, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Theo Angelopoulos, Cristian Mungiu, Abbas Kiarostami, and Goran Paskaljevic, to name just a few of the modern icons of cinema. He brought them all to Toronto," Handling added.

Born in 1939, Eipides in 1969 launched the Independent Filmmakers Cooperative in Montreal and worked with the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ministry of External Affairs to present a tour of Canadian films at film museums and institutes in 35 European cities.

He also co-founded the Festival International du Cinéma in Montreal, now the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, where he served as director for 14 years. Internationally, Eipides served as the artistic director of the New Horizons section of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, and he was the creator and founder of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.

Eipides also served as program director at the Reykjavik Film Festival and served as juror at numerous film festivals, including San Sebastian, Istanbul, Tehran, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Moscow, Seoul, Karlovy Vary, Amsterdam, Trieste, Bilbao, St. Petersburg, and Wrocław.